#WeAreEssential: Tell Congress to Include the Paralysis Community in COVID-19 Relief Bills

 
 
 
After weeks of negotiations, the Senate has still not come to consensus on what should be included in a COVID-19 relief package. Time is running out for millions of Americans who have relied on the relief provided by Congress at the beginning of the pandemic. 

We are asking you to reach out to your Senator and urge them to act NOW and include the specific needs of the paralysis community in the final version of a COVID-19 related relief bill.

People with paralysis and those who support them are being left behind!

Congress has done little to address the continued fallout from COVID-19 since the House passed the Heroes Act on May 15th, and, as of last week, many key relief provisions are expired. People living with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce have been left to bear the burden of a public health emergency. As a result they are at the highest risk for serious illness, unemployment and reduced resources for maintaining their quality of life if the Senate does not act.

We must ask the Senate to pass a bill NOW that addresses the specific and critical needs of people living with disabilities, including:

  • Dedicated Resources for Community Based Services. Dedicated resources for Medicaid to support Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) are desperately needed to help people with disabilities and older adults remain safely in their homes rather than being forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings, where infections and deaths from COVID-19 are rampant.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals. Direct support professionals are a critical segment of the workforce and must be designated as essential workers so that they can get access to the PPE and medical supplies they urgently need to protect their health and safety.
  • Paid leave for caregivers. As people living with disabilities continue to lose their usual sources of care, family caregivers are still scrambling and need access to paid leave and sick days to help their loved ones. Congress should include all family caregivers in the emergency paid leave provisions.
  • Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities. Congress needs to ensure that stimulus payments are available to everyone, including adults with disabilities who are claimed as dependents. 

We are asking you to reach out to your Senator and urge them to act NOW and include the specific needs of the paralysis community in the final version of a COVID-19 related relief bill.

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Thank you for taking the time to contact your Senators and urge them to account for people living with paralysis in the final version of the HEALS Act. We rely on advocates like you to speak up on the community’s behalf, and this simple action will remind Congress that the needs of the disability community should remain paramount.